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A Precious Death

January 12, 2020
By Martin Luther

Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.

GENESIS 25:8

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A Precious Death

In all Holy Scripture this is the first passage which declares that the death of the saints is peaceful and precious in the sight of God (Psalm 116:15) and that the saints do not taste death but most pleasantly fall asleep. Isaiah read and carefully expounded this passage, for from it there originated those striking statements he made: "The righteous man is taken away from calamity, he enters into peace; they rest in their beds" (57:1-2) and "Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath is past" (26:20). In the eyes of the world the righteous are despised, spurned, and thrust aside. Their death seems exceedingly sad. But they are sleeping a most pleasant sleep. When they lie down in their beds and breathe their last, they die just as if sleep were gradually falling upon their limbs and senses. For previously they have been humbled by various trials, and they have become peaceful and quiet, so that they say: "Lord God, I shall die gladly if this seems best to Thee." They do not dread death as do the ungodly, who tremble and are horribly afraid. This they do to awaken us, in order that we may learn to obey God when He calls us out of this wretched state and may be able to say: "I do not want one hour to be added to my life, Lord Jesus Christ. Come when Thou wilt." In this way Abraham dies full of days, when he was well content.